The story of Jayber Crow, a barber in a small New England town, and hislifelong love for a woman married to an unfaithful and unworthy man, is,in the inimitable Wendell Berry style, touching and beautiful. Thedescriptions of small-town life, the simple rhythms, salty morality andday-to-day absurd beauty of existence come across in Berry's trademarkprose, as plain and transcendent as the world that he describes. Yet likeany good Berry book, "Jayber Crow" is also a parable about faith and God'slove in the world. The depth of Crow's love for young Maggie Chatham, infull knowledge that it will never be fulfilled in his life; his private"vow" of marriage to her, though she will never know that he has taken it;the steadfastness of his love for her, and the way that simply loving hertransfigures his life--all these are truly metaphors for faith. "It wasnot a 'conversion' in the usual sense, as though I had been altogether outand now was altogether in. It was more as though I had been in a house anda storm had blown off the roof; I was more in the light than I hadthough." In showing that love and faith are made ofthe same belief in the impossible, Berry's latest book will satisfy his longtime fans and those just discovering him alike.

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